Should foreign investors interfere with the governing of my country?

Dear Editor,

I have noticed that of late more and more people are reacting by writing to you about what is happening on St. Maarten. Not all of the content of those letters is positive.

People who know who I am would also ask me what I think about the results of the latest political election. Since 10-10-’10 what I have seen of how the people go about securing votes I am not surprised anymore. I will not say that I have lost respect for the people who for the last 13 years have occupied seats in the so many governments of St. Maarten, because my sense of decorum would not permit that, but the word disdain has crossed my mind once in a while. I have always gotten all kinds of questions from people who came here to work, to retire, on vacation or even to invest.

On several occasions I have been asked what about freedom of speech? My opinion about freedom of speech is that if you decide that you have the right to freedom of speech and say anything you want in the presence of anyone, then you must be ready to accept reaction from anyone.

I can still remember a situation on Aruba which the police had to deal with. There was an intense quarrel between next-door neighbors because of a dog. The one neighbor tried to scare away the other neighbor's dog which was urinating in front of his gate, by throwing a piece of stick at it. While settling that quarrel, the owner of the dog said to his neighbor, “You can say what you want to my wife, but don't ever touch my dog.” Too often when one thinks “it is not a big thing” another is ready to kill you for that same thing.

Now this. Someone sent me a video of an Italian who says his name is Peppe and who by using obscene language is imposing on St. Maarten government how to run the country. He is impressing on us to stay with the Dutch because we cannot change history. I do not know what he means by that, but he is telling William Marlin, who he calls his friend and who he claims is archaic, that he has to be aware that time changes and if he does not change with time he will die. I believe the history of Italy is also well known. So if this Italian person is saying that we cannot change history, what message is he sending to whom?

I have not read anything on the swearing-in of the latest members of Parliament yet, so I will have to come back on that. I am aware that the ending of the great majority of the oaths of office is “So Help Me God”, so I hope that that oath becomes sacred to those who took it.

Russell Simmons

The Daily Herald

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